The 10 Best Coffee Capsules on the Market

If you love coffee as much as we do, then you surely like to make it in several methods.

Today the world of coffee is so big that it offers us various ways to enjoy it. There is one for every taste! Whether you like to make it the classic way in a coffee maker, in a pot, or, more modern recipes.

If sometimes you don’t have much time in the mornings or you are one of those who prefer quick ways to brew it, this time we present you the solution: coffee in capsules. It’s a quick but very delicious alternative that you may have heard before.

So we’ll show you what these are and which are the best coffee capsules you can find on the market.

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History of coffee capsules

The idea of drinking coffee in capsules was born in Italy at the end of the 20th century. Probably the best-known story about coffee capsules has to do with the Nespresso brand, which is equally well known. However, the concept of drinking coffee in “doses” already existed.

It begins with the Italian brand Illy when around 1970, it launches round paper bags with individual doses of ground coffee inside. This system is called: E.S.E (Easy Serving Espresso).

The advantage was that Illy made this system completely open, so that any company could manufacture coffee makers compatible with the coffee bags. Thus, the bags weren’t only to be used in Illy coffee makers.

Back then, these doses of coffee were stored in small paper bags. But, it was around that time, when Swiss engineer Eric Favre, a Nestlé worker, invented a new system to store those coffee doses in small capsules.

This is how the famous Nespresso coffee machines we know today were born.

It was then that the Nespresso brand came to the market, under the Nestlé Group, with the manufacture and sale of Nespresso machines. These worked exclusively with coffee capsules also made by the same brand, so, it was a closed system.

What are coffee capsules?

Now that we’ve seen a little bit about how the idea of coffee capsules was born, let’s learn what this system consists of.

It’s a really simple concept. It is an individual dose of approximately 7-8 grams of ground coffee that is stored in small plastic or aluminum capsules. You can also find them in paper filter bags.

Today it has become a very popular way of drinking coffee. Not only does it contain the perfect dose for a cup, but it is also a very efficient system.

Many prefer it because it is very simple to use and, above all, fast. Also, you can find many flavor options ranging from traditional to more modern coffee recipes. So making a latte macchiato, for example, has never been easier.

On the other hand, it is important to remember that coffee capsules are only for coffee makers designed for that system. This means that you won’t be able to use a capsule in your espresso machine, Chemex, in a French press, and so on. Besides, generally, the brands you find on the market can only be used with coffee makers of that same brand.

However, in recent years, brands of “generic” coffee capsules compatible with this type of coffee maker have emerged, that might not be from the same company.

Types of coffee capsules

Due to its rapid success and growth in recent years, improvements and innovations have been developed to coffee capsules. That is why today you can find several types with distinctive characteristics. Let’s look at some of these!

– E.S.E single-dose coffee

To begin with, we should comment that there is a difference between single-dose coffee and single-dose E. S. E. It may seem confusing, but it is actually very simple.

When talking about single-dose coffee, it refers to the method of storage in small individual doses. So, in general, the capsules that we can find on the market are of a single-dose type.

On the other hand, E. S. E mono doses are small bags made of heat-sealable filter paper with ground coffee inside. Its acronym refers to the model Easy Serving Espresso, developed by the Italian brand Illy, which literally means an espresso served easily.

These mono doses contain 7 grams of very fine ground coffee, well pressed. In general, it is only used to make espresso, since it was born to further facilitate its brewing, without losing taste and quality.

– FAP Coffee capsules

This type of capsule is the most common and refers to their material. They are made of food-grade plastic and usually contain 7 grams of coffee. This comes out through the perforations it has on both the top and bottom.

They come in different diameters and are classified as follows:

  • Fap 36: Its height tends to be 24 cm and its diameter is 36 mm.
  • Fap 39: Its height is about 20 cm and its diameter is 39 mm.

– Compatible coffee capsules

Although capsule coffee makers have become very popular today due to their speed and ease of use, we can’t deny that coffee capsules are expensive. These coffee makers usually work only with capsules of their own brand, so for many, it is not a very affordable practice.

Because of this, compatible coffee capsules were introduced to the market. These aren’t from the original brands of coffee makers, but they adapt to the machines so that there is no issue when using them.

Compared to “branded” capsules, compatible ones are of lower quality, but not necessarily bad. They are considered more like standard quality, but they are certainly much cheaper.

An important advantage is that you will be able to find many brands of compatible capsules you can “legally” use in your Nespresso, Dolce Gusto, Lavazza, etc. coffee makers. This is because these brands have “officially” allowed the use of compatible capsules in their coffee machines.

– Caffitaly coffee capsules

It is a capsule system created in 2007 in Italy. It is not a brand, but a type of capsule characterized by having more content than most capsules and being harder. With a cylindrical shape, these are made of plastic and contain 8 grams of coffee.

This capsule system is free. This means that any brand can use this type of capsule to pack their coffee. But they are only compatible with Caffitaly coffee makers. The most recognized brands that use these capsules are Fortaleza, Stracto, Écoffé, among others.

Today, you can even find Caffitaly refillable capsules. They allow you to recharge them with the type of coffee you want, whether you have ground it at home or not. Also, you can use it up to about 500 times, therefore, it can result even more affordable.

The best coffee capsules

Now that we have reviewed the most common types of coffee capsules, we will show you some of the most representative and best quality brands you can find today. Also, 10 examples of their best-known products.

Nespresso coffee capsules

These coffee capsules are from one of the best-known brands on the market: Nespresso. They could be considered as the “originals”, since they were the first to be manufactured commercially.

In general, these capsules are made of aluminum, but have a thin layer of plastic inside that separates them from the coffee. They are hermetically sealed with a thin aluminum sheet, which helps the content to be better preserved. Besides, the aroma and taste of coffee are not lost since it’s not in contact with light and air.

They have about 5 grams of coffee.

They are used with Nespresso coffee makers and are quite easy to handle. Just insert the capsule into the machine and activate it. The machine will make holes in the top of the capsule and start heating the water. In a few seconds, you will have a delicious cup of coffee ready.

Nespresso offers a wide variety of flavors or types of black coffee classified as follows:

  • Intense: for a short cup of 25 or 40 ml.
  • Espresso: for a short cup of 40 ml.
  • Master Origin: characterized by being each of a country of origin. You can enjoy them as espressos of 40 ml or long black coffee of 110 ml.
  • Lungo: for a long cup of 110 ml.
  • Barista Creations: line of coffees designed to combine with milk.

On the other hand, the intensity of the capsules is measured on a scale of 1 to 13, and they are only compatible with Nespresso coffee machines.

Let’s now see the two best Nespresso capsules and where you can find them:

Nespresso Roma coffee capsules

These capsules promise a cup of subtle coffee with a balance between intensity, fullness, and fineness. It is from the line of intense espressos with woody and roasted notes. Its features are:

  • This coffee is a blend of Central and South American arabica beans with robusta beans.
  • It has an intensity of 8 out of 13.
  • You can make it for 3 types of cup: ristretto – 25 ml, espresso – 40 ml, and americano – 150 ml.
  • It has a degree of roasting, acidity, and bitterness of 4 out of 5.
  • They come in packages of 10 minimum, 300 maximum.

Nespresso Vanilio coffee capsules

These coffee capsules are part of the Barista Creations line. They are aimed at people who enjoy softer and more aromatic coffee than the traditional espresso, thanks to its vanilla aroma. Its features are:

  • It is made from their Livanto coffee, a blend of Arabica beans from Central and South America.
  • It has a balanced and round aromatic profile. Its notes are vanilla, cereals, caramel, and malt.
  • It has an intensity of 6 out of 13.
  • It is ideal for a 40ml espresso size cup.
  • They are sold in packages of at least 10 units.

Dolce Gusto coffee capsules

These capsules are manufactured by Nescafé, the main competition of Nespresso (although both are from the same business group). This brand not only started making its coffee capsules but also designed and marketed its own coffee maker for the exclusive use of its capsules.

They are made of plastic and come with a lid that hermetically seals the capsule. They can only be used with Dolce Gusto coffee makers.

The main difference with Nespresso coffee capsules is that Dolce Gusto has more flavor options. They not only offer black coffee to make espressos, but they have included other ingredients in their options to make blends, such as latte.

Some of its flavors are intense espresso, Americano, cappuccino, Lungo coffee from Colombia, among others. It has even included options like Nesquik, so clearly Dolce Gusto has opened up its market more by offering capsules with more familiar flavors, not just black coffee.

Nescafé Dolce Gusto Espresso coffee capsules

Dolce Gusto offers flavors for all tastes and the traditional espresso could not be missing. Usually, you will find the capsules in packages or boxes in several quantities, they are not usually sold individually. Its features are:

  • Each package has 16 pieces.
  • It is a 100% premium arabica variety from Brazil and Colombia.
  • It has a light roasting degree and an intensity of 5 out of 11.
  • It has a delicious fruity and citrus flavor, with notes of roasted nut.
  • They make a cup of about 50ml.

Nescafé Dolce Gusto Latte Macchiato coffee capsules 

In line with Dolce Gusto’s purpose of offering its audience a wide variety of flavors, they developed the coffee capsule to make a Latte Macchiato. A delicious option if you prefer other types of brews different from the classic espresso. Let’s look at its features!

  • Each pack has 8 units of espresso and another 8 capsules of milk.
  • It is a blend of premium coffee beans of the arabica and robusta varieties.
  • They come hermetically sealed to ensure that coffee flavors and aromas are preserved perfectly.
  • Only compatible with Dolce Gusto coffee machines.

Lavazza coffee capsules

The Italian brand Lavazza offers different capsules depending on the coffee maker or the system in which they will be used. These are:

  • Lavazza Espresso Point: they are made of white or transparent plastic, have a cylindrical shape, and are FAP 39 type. Inside are about 7 grams of ground coffee.
  • Lavazza Blue: they are made of thin plastic and have a conical shape. They are about 27 mm high and 47 mm in diameter.
  • Lavazza A Modo Mio: they are very similar to Lavazza Blue, however, they work with “A Modo Mio ” coffee makers. They are also made of plastic and have a conical shape. They are vacuum packed and contain up to 7.5 grams of coffee. Its height is about 17 mm and its diameter is 47 mm.

Many of these are also compatible with other coffee makers and systems, such as Nespresso.

The following are the two best coffees in Lavazza capsules:

Lavazza Espresso Armonico Nespresso compatible capsules

These Italian coffee capsules offer a delicious blend of the best arabica coffee beans from Central and South America that produce a cup of espresso of the best quality. Let’s look at its features:

  • 10 units of coffee capsules.
  • It has an intensity of 8 out of 13.
  • It is mixed and roasted in Italy.
  • It is compatible with original Nespresso machines.
  • It comes hermetically sealed to ensure the freshness, taste, and aroma of the coffee.

Lavazza Premium Decaffeinato Ricco

These coffee capsules offer a unique and delicious blend of Brazilian arabica beans with the best African robusta that results in an espresso intense in flavor. Its features are:

  • 10 units of coffee capsules.
  • It has an intensity of 6 out of 14.
  • It is compatible with Nespresso machines.
  • It comes hermetically sealed to ensure the freshness, taste, and aroma of the coffee.
  • It doesn’t damage the machine.
  • It is mixed and roasted in Italy.

Illy IperEspresso coffee capsules

These coffee capsules are made of two materials. There are some in plastic and others in aluminum.

Both have conical shapes and are hermetically sealed. The containers are also pressurized, which makes the taste stay longer.

Plastic capsules can be used only in Illy coffee makers, according to the system they have. However, now aluminum capsules are also compatible with Nespresso machines.

You can find several flavor options for espresso and classic lungo such as:

  • Classico
  • Intenso
  • Forte

Let’s now look at two examples of Illy IperEspresso coffee capsules and where you can find them:

Illy Iperespresso Classico coffee capsules

Illy has always been recognized for offering excellent quality coffee, and it is no different when it comes to capsules.

They offer the possibility of making a delicious espresso or cappuccino in an easy and fast way through the capsules. Its features are:

  • 21 units of coffee capsules.
  • It is ground coffee of 100% medium roasted arabica beans.
  • It has sweet and floral notes combined with aromas of caramel, chocolate, and toasted bread.
  • The containers are pressurized. This allows the aromas to be more fixed in the coffee and to better conserve its flavor.
  • It is compatible with all IperEspresso machines.

Illy IperEspresso Arabica Selection: Colombia coffee capsules

These capsules are from the special line of arabica selection coffee beans from Colombia. They offer unique roasting with citrus aromas and notes that leave a soft taste on the palate. Its features are:

  • 21 capsules of ground coffee each with about 7 grams.
  • It is a blend of 9 varieties of 100% arabica beans.
  • The IperEspresso system has two extraction stages to strengthen the body and aroma of the coffee, besides forming the typical foam of a good espresso.
  • It is compatible with all IperEspresso machines.
  • The containers are pressurized. This allows the aromas to be more fixed in the coffee and to better conserve its flavor.

Peet’s Coffee Espresso coffee capsules

These coffee capsules are compatible. This means that they are designed to be used in other brands of coffee makers. In this case, for Nespresso machines.

In recent years, it has become a leading brand in terms of generic capsules. It specializes in coffees for dark espresso and is of significant quality.

Its capsules are made of aluminum and are hermetically sealed to preserve all the taste and aroma of coffee. In addition to the classic espresso, it also offers decaffeinated options.

An important aspect of the brand is that it has its own capsule recycling program.

Let’s now see a reference of their products and where you can find it:

Espresso Crema Scura coffee capsules

These capsules are 100% arabica coffee and are made of aluminum, perfect for Nespresso machines. It promises a thick and luxurious espresso with notes of nuts and earth. In addition to a creamy finish. Let’s now look at some of its features:

  • Each box comes with 10 units.
  • It has a medium roasting level.
  • Its intensity is 9.
  • It is hermetically sealed to ensure the preservation of aromas. Thus, it offers a stronger espresso, but with a creamy and soft foam.
  • It is compatible with Nespresso coffee machines.

Viaggio Espresso coffee capsules

These coffee capsules are made from 100% natural coffee. The brand has focused on ensuring that its crops are managed according to strict environmental standards. For this reason, they have earned the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal.

In addition to its environmental commitment, its coffee stands out for being of great quality and taste, without sugars or preservatives. They also have a recycling program for the capsules.

They offer coffee capsules compatible with both Nespresso and Dolce Gusto machines.

This is  one of the Viaggio Espresso capsules:

Viaggio Espresso compatible coffee capsules

The brand offers a very complete package of coffee capsules of various flavors. This includes 6 varieties: Intenso, Arabica, Ristretto, Espresso, Decaffeinato and Lungo. Let’s now look at some of its features:

  • Each package has 10 pieces.
  • They are compatible with Nespresso machines.
  • Depending on the variety, they can have an intensity of 6 to 12.
  • It is 100% natural coffee without preservatives or extra sugars.


Although for some there is some skepticism about coffee capsules, this can actually prove to be an excellent option.

As we could see, if you have almost no time and you are one of those who like to do things quickly, coffee capsules are a great alternative. Also, without losing quality.

Nowadays, brands are more concerned with ensuring that you can drink coffee of almost the same quality as if it were a freshly ground one.

On the other hand, the market offers a wide variety of brands and types of coffee capsules to suit your needs and tastes. Although these are a bit more expensive, they are definitely worth a try and a chance to catch you. Chances are you won’t be able to let go of them!

We hope that having learned a little more about coffee in capsules, you dare to try them. And if you already knew them, then you have discovered more brands and options to consider.